Thousands of Chiapas teachers in CNTE go on strike

Chiapas teachers march in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chis. (proceso.com.mx). – This Sunday, on Teachers’ Day, thousands of members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) started an indefinite work stoppage to protest against the education reform.

Even with coercive economic measures like withholding paychecks and freezing the savings accounts, this Sunday teachers from Sections 7 and 40 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) carried out a mobilization that started on the east side of the capital and concluded at the central plaza, where they held a meeting.

The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Secretariat of the Treasury and Public Credit notified the teachers maestros in Section 7 of the SNTE by means of an official letter that “by disposition of the authority” the bank accounts of the Fund for Savings and Social Benefit were blocked, and therefore they would not be able to use them.

Alberto Mirón, one of the leaders of the CNTE in Chiapas, stated his rejection of this federal government arrangement and said that they would not stop the teachers movement in Chiapas, even with these repressive measures.

“To the contrary, they are only going to anger and disturb the Chiapas teachers more therefore, as was foreseen, beginning this Sunday we will be in an occupation and labor strike indefinitely,” Mirón said.

Thousands of teachers who had taken steps to obtain a loan prior to the strike were left without their checks, and therefore have to wait until the bank accounts are unfrozen.

They blamed the Secretary of Public Education (SEP), Aurelio Nuño, for being behind what they classified as a repressive measure, and because of which they will now radicalize their protest actions even more in the coming hours.

This measure is added to the withholding of their biweekly paychecks that thousands of teachers were not able to collect since last Friday. The teachers gave them until this Monday to pay them for the first two weeks of May, if not they will intensify their protests.

Pedro Gómez Bámaca, another leader of the CNTE’s teachers, said that faced with the arrival of Federal Forces in Chiapas, they would be on alert and that in case any teachers is arrested within the framework of their protests, they will start to retain functionaries and take them to the occupation located on the central plaza, where they will be displayed.

Gómez Bámaca asked the federal government to open the door to dialogue and negotiation, because “it ought to be clear that if in 36 years no previous government was able to make the CNTE disappear, even less will this government of Enrique Peña Nieto be able to do it.”

Other teachers’ unions from other levels and educational sectors accompanied the teachers, as well as campesinos and parents that were adding on to the march along its tour of some seven kilometers to reach the central plaza.

[More photos of the march here.]

As to the warning that they will be fired from their positions if they don’t present themselves at their workplaces in three working days, Gómez Bámaca said that the teachers would challenge the education authorities and would be in the occupation more than three days to see if they are able to fire them.

Whatever they do, whatever they attempt, for each one of us they fire we are going to respond with more spirit and organization, we are not going away, the teacher compañeros have no fear,” Gómez Bámaca said.

“All the members of Section 7’s Executive Committee have gone five months without pay, they haven’t paid us, and here we are, here we continue showing our face in the mobilizations,” Gómez Bámaca said.

He added that there are threats of capture and open preliminary investigations where they point to terrorists, but despite that he warned that they would in their movement.

Although the state government indicated that there were only 3,500 teachers; what’s certain is that there were tens of thousands that marched this Sunday in Tuxtla.

In Section 7 alone there are 45,000 teachers and 22,800 in Section 40; that’s without counting the thousands of workers from other unions that added onto the protest today.

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Originally Published in Spanish by Proceso.com

Sunday, May 15, 2016

http://www.proceso.com.mx/440716/inician-paro-miles-maestros-la-cnte-en-chiapas

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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